IrishCallcards.net is your one stop for all things Callcard (Irish Phonecards). First introduced in Ireland by Telecom Eireann (now Eircom) in 1988, throughout the years many different callcards were produced. Ranging from commemorative to advertising and special edition releases, Callcards were widely collected throughout Ireland and worldwide during the nineties.

IrishCallcards.net features a complete image gallery with high definition images of all Callcards ever produced, discussion forums and a marketplace for past or current collectors interested in selling or swapping callcards.

Irish Callcards Blog

A History of Cardphones used in Ireland

A History of Cardphones used in Ireland

A photograph from 20 years ago (Aug '94) with Telecom Eireann's Cardphone branding. Credit: Sludge G/Flickr

Throughout the years Telecom Eireann and Eircom implemented four different Cardphone hardware models. Initially starting off with separate coinphones and cardphones Eircom was to later bring out a hybrid coin and card payphone, which is still in use today. The Cardphone manufacturers used over the years were produced by both Schlumberger and Landis and Gyr.

In the image to the left you will see a Telecom Eireann cardphone. This is identifiable by the yellow sign. This sign stated "Telecom Eireann Cardphone - Calls without coins".

Four different models supporting are known to have been used by Telecom Eireann and later Eircom.

 

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The Irish Management Institute Callcards

The Irish Management Institute Callcards

While most collectors will be aware of the extremely rare Irish Management Institute (IMI) Callcards, for many it is a mystery as to why three private Callcards were produced for two different IMI conferences in the years 1989 and 1990. The IMI Callcards are among the first of all private issue cards, with only the Cork FITCE being the other trial Callcard to see a private card produced.

Many collectors have often wondered why the IMI conferences had Callcards produced? What was the objective of the conferences and also how many delegates would have attended? Fortunately today, we have talked with a person who spoke at the infamous Ireland’s Europe conference! We have answers (well some at least!). :)

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Leap into the past!

Leap into the past!

In 2011, an integrated ticketing system, known as Leap was introduced into Ireland. The “Leap Card”, a RFID enabled chargeable card allows customers to pay their fares for multiple different transport operations, as well as receiving a discount for using the service.

The Leap cards’ initial launch was for the most part a success, largely due to the fact both CIE (Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann and Bus Eireann) as well as Veolia (Luas) agreed to implement the system, providing more flexibility for the commuter and transport user alike. Certain transport operations were slower to implement Leap ticketing support, however, the system was widely used and appreciated during the launch period, largely compared to the city of London’s Oyster card at the time.

Interestingly, the idea of integrated ticketing in Ireland is not new! In 1994, Telecom Eireann in conjunction with CIE (Dublin Bus), Irish Car Parks Ltd and National Toll roads together trialled an integrated ticketing system, known as The Gaudi (Generalised and Advanced Urban Innovations) Project. The Gaudi project, a European Community (now European Union) programme, aimed to improve management and the improvement of urban mobility.

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The other Irish phonecards

The other Irish phonecards

Special phonecard promoting Piero Tintori's "The Concise Irish Callcard Catalogue". View Card.

While we may best remember Telecom Eireann and Eircom Callcard’s from our collecting days, other Irish chipped phonecards were not as well known. Leaving Prepaid Phonecards aside there were several other companies in Ireland using smartcard technology supporting different types of card phones. These different phonecards were used in various locations, including, colleges, trains, company campuses and even buses! And they were just as collectable!

This blog article will cover just some of the various other types of Irish Phonecards out there, as well as providing some additional information about the various different cards.

The University College Dublin (U.C.D) campus spreads across many acres of land in Dublin, and at one point had many cardphones installed throughout the campus. These cardphones used the Delhpic smartcard chipset. These phone booths were installed and supported by Cambridge Telephones Ltd. A number of variations exist of UCD Callcards. All UCD cards were programmed for 20 units, the exception being the UCD “Concise Callcard Catalogue” phonecard.

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Collecting Callcards Nostalgia

Collecting Callcards Nostalgia

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Telecom Eireann Collectors club merchandise. Including Callcard folder, unit checker, pen and keyring.

Remember when you used to go around ransacking all the local card phones in the hope that someone left their used Callcard? The excitement felt when you found a "rare" 50 or 100 unit Callcard on the lucky days. For many people, Callcard collecting was an exciting hobby due to not knowing what you would find next. Would it be a private card, a limited release or just another Niamh from Tir Na Nog? Many collectors struck gold on some occasion, finding that all rare Rock of Cashel or that hard to find Oisin Returning from Tir Na Nog were all part and parcel with collecting Callcards.

As Callcard collecting was mainly done by youths, very few young collectors could afford the "big" 50 or 100 unit Callcards, likewise the private issues sold through the Callcard Club. This resulted in further excitement upon coming across a used Callcard left in the phonebox, particularly the higher unit values. 

15 or so years on and how times have changed. Young people today likely have no idea about Callcards or their function, or may never have even used a call box! With smartphones, the internet, computers being so accessible these days, it is unlikely for youths to be collecting anything. A sign of the times.

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